They’re watching you

Glenn Reynolds linked to an article that describes how companies now have your real user information and they’re sending it to one another when you shop and search.

Georgia resident Andy Morar is in the market for a BMW. So recently he sent a note to a showroom near Atlanta, using a form on the dealer’s website to provide his name and contact information.

His note went to the dealership—but it also went, without his knowledge, to a company that tracks car shoppers online. In a flash, an analysis of the auto websites Mr. Morar had anonymously visited could be paired with his real name and studied by his local car dealer.

Yeah. Over the weekend, I did some research for the second book in The Catmage Chronicles series. I was trying to find an Egyptian cat pendant in a museum or antiquities collection. I had to use advanced search methods and then some in order not to get results that showed cat pendants in museum stores (or not in museum stores–Google was trying desperately to get me to buy a cat pendant, it seemed).

Last night, I ordered a few things on Amazon. And in my “People who bought this would also like” list was–Egyptian cat pendants. The very same links that kept showing up in my search attempts. Clearly, Google and Amazon are trading information.

They see you when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. Online privacy? What’s that?

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